Salem Food Tours an Experience to Savor

Salem Food Tours an Experience to Savor

North Shore Dish – Salem Food Tours an Experience to Savor. It might be easy to forget that Salem is more than just the costumed groups and traffic jams this time of year. In fact, the city is a great place for all kinds of food lovers to visit. This old harbor has everything. Fancy restaurants, takeout places, candy shops, bakeries, cool bars, and restaurants serving food from around the world.

There is also no one better than Karen Scalia to help you find your way around Salem’s wonderful world of food. She is wonderful because she is charming, fun, and very smart. As a tour guide in Salem, Scalia put her event planning skills and love of food together to make Salem Food Tours, which began in September.

Last week we were lucky enough to go on a tour, and right away we were impressed by how much thought and planning goes into each trip. With an email with helpful directions, a warm welcome like you’re an old friend. A well-thought-out order of tastings, Scalia has made sure that both tourists and locals have a memorable time.

Because there are so many shops and bars on board. Each tour is different and depends on what’s going on that day. The Salem Farmer’s Market can be part of Thursday tours, and vegan walks are also available. Scalia will even make a private tour just for your event.

We started our walk with some history of Salem when we went into Salem Spice/The Picklepot. There, the enthusiastic David Bowie (no, not that one). Taught us about the history of salt and pepper in Salem and the spice trade. We looked at four peppers and seven salts side by side. The pink peppercorns were our favorite, but the Pacific Smoked Sea Salt made us swoon.

The next place we went to was Scratch Kitchen, where Chef Bill Fogarty talked to us about his house-smoked meats and food that comes from nearby. We were served a traditional New England clam chowder by him. It tasted clean and fresh, just like the food my grandma used to make. We also tried some very tasty hand-cut French fries with bacon and homemade ketchup. Yes, I did say “bacon-dusted.” Scratch also has bacon popcorn for sale.

We popped into Comida for a quick but appealing tasting of rice and beans with a choice of meat and homemade salsa and pickled red onions. Then it was on to one of our favorite shops, Milk and Honey, to talk cheese and chocolate with Sharon and Bill. Everyone’s favorite seemed to be the Shallot Hannabells from Shy Brothers Farm in Westport—creamy, tart, and savory. And of course Somerville’s Taza Chocolate is always a hit.

We met the owner of Salem Wine Imports, Eric Olsen, who knows a lot about wine. He is right next door. Sign up for his email newsletters, whether you’re new to wine or a big fan. You look forward to getting them because they have great writing, lovely pictures, and sales. Great job, Chris! He took over from Eric and poured us three Italian wines while we talked about the area, the soil, and possible holiday table wines.

We were sad to leave, but we were glad we did because we made it to Life Alive. The boss, Christina, was fun to talk to about how the café works and what the food is meant to do. A new favorite of the Dish. It came with broccoli, kale, tamari nuts, raisins, carrots, and broccoli over brown rice with a great curry miso sauce. We tried the Swami bowl. If you add some veggie chocolates made in the area, you’ll be in heaven.

The tour was well-paced, and we eagerly continued to the finish at 43 Church. You would think we would be too stuffed to move or eat anymore. This ended the tour nicely. We enjoyed another wine tasting and numerous delicious small meals at a bar table.

We weren’t impressed by 43 Church’s upmarket surf and turf menu when it left the Lyceum last year. Chef Doug Papows has taken over in the kitchen since then, and based on what we tasted on the tour, his unique vision is worth revisiting this Church Street restaurant.

The soft lamb osso buco, handkerchief pasta (all house-made by sous chef Kirk Vanacore), roasted grape tomatoes, spinach, and feta cheese were delicious. Autumn-appropriate cassoulet was my fave. Braised lamb, pork, boar, pheasant sausages, duck confit, and fried duck tenderloin made the bean stew thick and silky.

That afternoon, pastry chef Saskia Nugent enthralled us with her dessert. What makes a deep, luscious chocolate cake with satiny icing and rich raspberry ganache light? The decadent mystery ended our afternoon of food perfectly.

We can assure that Karen Scalia is the gal you want to show you her town, but every trip is different. Karen’s contagious grin, attention to detail, and knowledge of Salem’s history and food have made Salem Food Tours a must-do for foodies.

Leave a Comment